As the sender of a parcel, you are the only one who know exactly what is inside your parcel. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure your item is packaged correctly and does not contain prohibited or hazardous goods. By accepting a parcel, the couriers do not acknowledge that the packaging is adequate or the contents are acceptable – that is up to you.
- The box/carton must be sturdy and strong and preferably ‘corrugated’ with flaps intact. Never use boxes that are damaged, thin, old, worn or damp.
- Don’t make the carton too heavy. This may cause issues in a few ways:
- The carton may break at the bottom,
- Staff in the courier hub may drop it accidentally (because they’ve underestimated the weight),
- Your carton may be loaded into the ‘bulk freight’ section of a vehicle which means your carton sits amongst heavy and large freight, with the possibility of damage increasing.
- If it is a heavy carton, mark it as ‘HEAVY’ in bold writing and write the weight next to it.
- If you cannot package the item into various lighter boxes, you should have someone available at the pickup and delivery addresses to help the driver load/unload the item.
- If you still have the original box for a product then it is recommended to use it. Especially if you still have the original polystyrene protection that came with the box (as this packaging was specifically designed to protect the product).
- If you have to re-use an old box, make sure that all old bar-coded labels or address labels have been completed removed to avoid sortation issues and delays to your goods. Also ensure there are no holes/tears or corner dents that could ultimately weaken the box during transport.
- It is important that you choose a box that is strong enough for your items. The strength of the cardboard is usually printed on the box.
- Do not overload the box with too many items or too much weight. It’s always better to package multiple items individually (if possible) and use more than one box if required. This way each individual item can receive the benefit of proper protection from packaging material and the box.
- If possible, send equipment in its original packaging and box.
- Cushioning material should be packed around all sides. Suggested packaging material are: bubble wrap, polychips, corrugated cardboard, shredded or rolled paper, air cushions and polyethylene foam sheeting.
- Ensure that there are no voids inside the box, which can jeopardize the integrity of the box and its items.
- Whatever packaging material is used, ensure there is enough cushioning material around the item/s so they don’t move if the box is shaken or bumped. A recommendation is to cushion with at least 5-8 centimetres of packaging material all around the item (fragile items require more cushioning). Cushioning is very important to stop shock from the outside, passing through to the contents causing damage (this is especially the case for fragile items).
- A recommendation in the transport industry is that all items are packaged to withstand a one metre drop.
- Proper closure of the box is essential for safe transportation. Use a ‘wide’ pressure sensitive plastic tape that is at least 38mm thick. When taping the box, ensure you go all the way around the box and along the seals (particularly for re-used or old boxes) to stop the box opening during transit.